Gillen, Glen  

Physics

3.23/4.00

31 evaluations


PHYS 121


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Dec 2015
I loved this teacher! Physics really bores me, but because Gillen is so passionate about it, it makes you want to listen and love it! The only thing is what he teaches wouldn't always completely correlate with the homework and I would be super confused about the homework. Otherwise he grades fairly and his quizes and tests are what you expect.

PHYS 123


Senior
N/A
Required (Support)
Jun 2013
Gillen's test were really fair. If you do all the homework then the test should be no surprise to you. Make sure you do EVERY problem too. You think he won't put that random problem on the test and it'll be there. His quizzes are exactly like the homework and lab problems. He presents the material really well and gives a clear understanding of what everything is. He's a good teacher. Really nice and not tricky. I'd recommend him for sure.

PHYS 132


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
Gillen is so COOL! He is one of the nicest professors I know. I took him for my 132 lab and now am taking his 133 lec/lab and am so glad that I did! His lectures make sense and are entertaining cause he will do quirky little things all the time. I also think he is super fair in all his tests and quizzes. Everything is straight forward and clear. Take him if at all possible. You won't regret it! And remember Physics = Fun!


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Jun 2016
Gillen is an okay guy. pretty straightforward class. go to lecture, do the homework, learn the material. the hw stuff is on quizzes, and that quiz stuff is on exams. not too many curveballs, but can grade a little harsh when he thinks you made a conceptual mistake. super nice tho. 8/10


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Oct 2016
Glen is my favorite person on Earth!!! He is a very good teacher too. He is so enthusiastic about the material, that the class is never boring, even when he's talking about very boring material. His tests are very similar to the homework, so if you do your work, there is no reason you shouldn't get a good grade. You will learn in his class, and you will enjoy it.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
May 2017
Such a nice guy, super passionate about physics and extremely fair. You don't have to turn in homework, you usually finish labwork in lab, and studying is easy with the resources he provides. Exams are fair, and you can pull an A or B in the class if you listen and study minimally. Gillen is dad

PHYS 133


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2008
Gillen is a good professor. He brings lots of "toys" to class to demonstrate the electrical physics we were studying. This makes the class more exciting. He did a fair job at presenting the material. He has surprise reading quizzes called "quizlets" that he gives occasionally. The quizzes and midterms are straightforward - he gives you the formula sheet with the test. Not a difficult class. He says at the beginning you must study X hours a week to pass, but that is BS. I got a B with roughly 30 - 40 minutes of studying a week.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Apr 2008
Gillen is awesome. I had a rough load that quarter and got a C which has NOTHING to do with his teaching abilities. He actually grades pretty strictly and does not like to give any partial credit, but the class is not hard. Take him if you can


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2008
Gillen is a good lecturer. He's enthusiastic about physics and can make things pretty interesting. My only qualm is that he's a little unfair with partial credit on tests and quizzes. (ie-giving 2 out of 9 points when most of the work was there)


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Oct 2008
Great professor, knows his stuff. He gives formulas during tests and you just need to understand what the formulas do and its a guaranteed A!


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2010
Dr. Gillen is a great physics teacher and a cool guy all around. He can convey the material in a simple and interesting way. Do the reading in advance so you can get all the points on the quizlets and do the homework so you can get all the points on the quizzes. Quiz problems come from the homework. Test problems are only slightly harder if at all but usually longer.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2010
I enjoyed Professor Gillens class. I just had him for lecture and he is a really good teacher. He mostly goes over the information in the book during class and a lot of concept stuff. He doesn\'t do too many example problems during class, but he didn\'t really need to. Gillen cares for his students and if you didn\'t understand something, he would try to explain it another way. He does throw pop quizzes or quizzlets once in a while based on the reading you were supposed to do. There was also a quiz for mostly every chapter that was the more basic problems. He had one midterm. The midterm and the final were half conceptual and half problems, so you had to know the concepts. He doesn\'t have required homework, but has recommended homework. He posts the answers to these homeworks and it is extremely helpful. Most of the questions on the tests were based on the homework problems. The class overall was not too difficult. I learned a lot from Professor Gillen, and I am glad to have had him as a professor.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2011
Gillen was overall a great lecturer and very helpful during lab as the other reviews suggest. My only complaint is with his grading which is very strict as he does not believe in partial credit. If you forgot units, make a simple calculator entry error, or like me do something obviously stupid like write \"10*100 = 10,000\" he will give you AT BEST a C for the problem...possibly an F if you do two or more of those things...but nothing in the middle.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2011
I took this class thinking that it would turn out well after all the positive reviews on polyratings. I was wrong. This guy is completely disorganized and is bad at conveying the material to students. His notes are easy to write on the blackboard, but they are difficult to write in notebooks. You'll find yourself erasing and rewriting all the time. This guy also goes back and forth on material, thinking it makes more sense to connect new and old material. It does a little, but it just confuses the shit out of students because it's like, "what the fuck is he talking about now?" and you'll find yourself going back and trying to remember old material while he's going on and on about new stuff. It's just shitty. On top of that, he acts like a complete know-it-all during class. Whenever someone asked a question during lecture, it went like this: the students asks it, then he replies in a very complicated and sometimes irrelevant fashion, then asks "does that answer it?" and kind of looks around smiling like he knows it really didn't. It's just shitty. He also grades very tough. Partial credit is hard to come by. But the thing that bothered me the most and pissed me off the most is that he put trick questions on midterms, quizzes, and even on the fucking final. TRICK FUCKING QUESTIONS. Nobody fucking likes them and it does not show SHIT. You may know the answer, but then you're like, "why the fuck did he give us all this additional info if the answer is just going to be zero?" and you doubt yourself, and then eventually get it wrong. It's just so shitty. The only plus about the class is that he curves. By the way, I am not a dumbass. I got 100%+ on 3/4 midterms in PHYS 141 and 132, and 1/2 100%s on finals. This guy's just a fucking shitty professor, and it just pisses me off so much that he has this many positive reviews on here. I am sorry for not writing this review before registration, but for you out there that are reading this and are contemplating taking Gillen, just don't do it. It's just so shitty.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2012
Moderated Comment
Gillen was a really good physics teacher. ... [B]e sure not to get confused between the [him and his wife]. Gillen takes a lot of time to explain the concepts of what he's teaching. He doesn't do a whole lot of example problems, but that's what the homework's for. His homework solutions help a lot too if you struggle. The homework doesn't count for anything but make sure you do it. His questions on quizzes are straight from the homework. His quizlets are really easy if you do the reading but hard if you don't. He LOVES the conceptual questions from the book so make sure you know how to do those. For his tests make sure you COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND how to do the homework problems because his test problems are straight from quizzes or the homework. Half of the test is conceptual problems but like I said they're usually straight out of the book so know how to do those. Overall, don't hesitate to take Gillen if you have the chance. Compared to other physics professors he is very easy to understand and his class is very manageable.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2012
Gillen was a great professor! He likes to ask conceptual questions on the tests and quizzes which is why I ended up with a C+. The only effort I put in was showing up to lecture and taking really good notes. His lectures were easy to follow because he really simplifies the material. I never touched the book, did any homework, or studied for the midterms/finals, yet after this class I feel like I have a really good understanding of 133. Just do some problems, maybe read the book, and make sure you GO TO LECTURE. If you do those a B or A is definitely achievable. Take Gillen if you actually want to learn Physics and do well as a result


Sophomore
B
Elective
Apr 2012
Great prof


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Apr 2012
He is a really cool guy, and he did a good job of making class entertaining. He was a very good instructor, but his midterms were pretty difficult. He curves final grades at the end, so you don't really know where you are grade-wise during the quarter. I would recommend taking him though. He made a very hard subject manageable.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Oct 2012
Good class. I would take Gillen again.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2013
Great teacher. Explains the material well and clearly. Tests are straightforward and not too difficult. If you want a challenge don't take him (at least for 133), but if you want to learn the basic concepts really well, then Gillen is really great. Take him if you can.

PHYS 141


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2006
He's a really good professor who knows what he's talking about. He's always open to questions, if you have any. Make sure to attend all the classes because if you miss any, you'd lose out a lot on the material covered since it goes by fast. I personally like the homework policy since it's really upto you if you want to do it, but it may not be helpful for those students who have to turn it in, in order to learn.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
Gillen was probably one of the most friendly professors I have had at Cal Poly. He presents the material in a way that is very easy to understand and his tests are very fair. He is also very helpful in office hours as well as for quick questions after class. Take this professor.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2009
First off, I might be biased because I received one of the highest grades in his class, but Gillen is a great guy! If you've had high school physics or AP physics the class shouldn't be too hard. If physics just isn't your thing, then all the more reason to take Gillen. He explains everything really well. He works out the homework step by step and posts his solutions to BB so you can download them and check your (non-submitted/graded) homework. His test are easy if you do and understand the homework, but make sure you DO the homework. He's also available and helpfull during office hours. To summarize, I decided NOT to take physics Winter Qtr because he wasn't teaching. Cal Poly's physics dept is mostly lacking in good profs, so take Gillen! He's awesome!


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2013
Professor Gillen is a nice guy, but his approach to physics negates the ability of human beings to think. He requires superfluous tasks, like labeling the unit vectors, remembering the specific notation from the book, and labeling unknown variables when it's clear they exist without the label. It's like he expects 3 year olds to be reading our free body diagrams. Physics should not be about irrelevant labeling and specific notation. If you wan't an easy A, take this class. If you want to use your mind, I'd look for another professor.


Freshman
C
General Ed
Jun 2013
Oh Gillen. He will always keep you entertained with his daily demonstrations. I suggest NOT FALLING BEHIND. and to always do readings/homework. that was my downfall. It's very easy to lose track during this class. I personally think he's better than his female counterpart as I've had them both. He's more relatable, and will make you work for your grade, which you want if your some kind of math and science major, if this is only a GE for you then take Kat, she gives out answers to her midterms. But Boy Gillen is just fine.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2013
First of all, may I just say that Professor Gillen is fiiiiiinnnnneeeeee! Moving on. Once you realize Gillen's teaching/testing style, this class is a piece of cake. The first test, I just read the book and did problems from the book and got a C. Second test, I realized all of his "conceptual" questions are taken straight from the "Stop to Think" questions of each chapter (usually numbers aren't even changed). Also, all of his actual show your work problems are straight from homework problems, just with numbers changed. I went from a C on the first test to a 97% on the second test. So look at the stop to think questions, be able to regurgitate the homework problems with all of his pesky notation, and you will excel.

PHYS 211


Junior
N/A
Required (Major)
Dec 2008
Cal Poly needs more professors like Dr. Gillen. He does a great job making the material interesting and his tests / grading policy are very fair. His graduate studies overlap with a lot of material in this course and he almost always had an interesting story or two tell. If you get a chance to take this class with Gillen you're in for a great quarter.


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Dec 2008
I thought he was awesome I finished the class and haven't gotten my grade back but he was really all I could ask for from a teacher. He explained the history (actually put too much emphasis in my opinion), then broke down the theory and then explained the equation. First showing all the parts then how they come together, then examples. He has no problem going back over things, and is one of the most patient teachers I've had in office hours. The grade spread was pretty standard in terms of 2 midterms, a couple of quizzes, homework, and a final. The tests were almost exactly like problems from the book and he gives an equation sheet with pretty much everything you need and lets you see it about a week before the test. I say that there may be too much emphasis on the history because he did have a section on a midterm and the final about the different scientists and their unique discoveries and claims in physics. But if you really look over the notes he gives on the history you should be fine. It was his first time teaching the class he told me but he was great and honestly couldn't ask for a better teacher of the subject.


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Jan 2009
Fair grader, knows his stuff and explains it well. Always willing to address questions that are asked.

AGC 322


Junior
C
General Ed
Nov 2016
What else is there to say? Fine person, nothing interesting. Class was meh... Blah, blah, blah... Fine person.

PHYS 323


Senior
A
Elective
Mar 2016
Dr. Gillen is basically everything you would want in a teacher. His lectures are clear and organized, making the material easy to understand and take notes on. He is a nice guy and has a nerdy sense of humor. His homework is challenging, so doing the reading really helps. His exams are very fair. His class is a lot of work, but worth it.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2017
Dr. Gillen does a fantastic job letting the students know what is expected. The lecture is straight forward. If you don't understand something, he has no hesitation answering questions. He is the best lab professor that I have ever experienced. Test are straight forward, meaning, if you do what he recommends, then you'll do fine.